Thursday, April 7, 2011

More News from Dallas

Stacatto Rose by Leigh Designs
Pocket Full of Stitches has a blog full of photos of the new items they bought at the Dallas cash and carry market.  Some items are brand new, while others are just new to the shop.  There are some new Texas-themed items but really there is something for anyone, from the new Staccato small coaster-sized canvases from Leigh (I posted one of the large Staccato pieces above), the gorgeous little suede bags with canvases from Boots Bailey, small charmers like caged lovebirds, and lots of florals, ornate letters and holiday designs.

Vicky continues her report from Dallas with lots of pretty new canvases and thread packets to stitch them with.  How I wish I'd been there!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at

Back to the Gold Fish

Carol's Gold Fish and Threads
More trips have played havoc with keeping Blog readers updated on the progress Carol’s made on her Gold Fish canvas. Sorry. We’ve been busy behind the scenes, however. Carol writes:

“I looked at the diagrams/pictures for the stitches you suggested. I'm still playing around with stitches in my head. I like the tressed stitch quite a bit.

I think the first thing I need to decide is how many stitches I want to use. Another thing to decide is how much texture I want. Given the sheen of the thread, the many colors and all the bling, I'm not sure if all over texture is the best route to go. The eyes need to rest somewhere!

I'm thinking that I might want to make some outlines of the fish in b/w and start playing around with my colored pencils.

In the meantime, I've been having some thoughts about the background. What do you think of introducing the Planet Earth silk via a single swirl here and there? Not many, maybe four or five total. Would the contrast in sheen and texture work or do you think it would be too busy?

Jane answers:
You are right, you can have too much texture on this piece since there are so many colors and all that bling! I am not quite sure what you mean when you write you'd like to add some of the Planet Earth Silk in some of the rows. Do you plan to do 1-2 rows of tent in your Cire (Brazilian Embroidery nylon 3 ply floss), then a Swirl row in your Empress Silk (silk floss from Needle Necessities), then back to the Cire tent row, then another Swirl row, etc. except occasionally you'll substitute Planet Earth Silk for the Empress silk? You should do some test stitching and see how it looks. I'm betting the Empress Silk and the Planet Earth Silk look too much alike for there to be a contrast but the only way to know is to test it. 

Pulling out the colored pencils and playing around with black and white copies of the fish is a good idea. It may give you ideas. I suggest you use some of your Cire to test stitch the fish stitches so you know how they look with your fish threads. Nothing beats thread tryouts to tell you what the end result is likely to be. 
Carol answered my question:
"Regarding the background, I'll try to explain what I mean. If I were to do the whole background in the ES and the Cire, I would have a verticle row of the swirl stitch in the ES, then a row of tent stitches in Cire, another row in ES, etc.

In each row of ES, there are several of what I see as individual swirls, a section of narrow to wide, followed by another section of narrow to wide, etc, up and down the row.

Rather than stitching all of those individual swirls in ES, I was thinking of perhaps stitching a few of them in the PE silk. Not one in every row, maybe one every third or fourth row, in different locations. Some would be near the top, some near the bottom, some near the middle. Very random across the background.

Does that make more sense? If not, I'll try to maybe draw something that demonstrates what I mean and send a picture. "

Light dawns and Jane understands!
I do understand what you mean by using three threads in the background now. (It’s just that communication is hard and some days I am dense!) I still think the Empress Silk and the Planet Earth 6 Ply Silk are too similar for you to see any change but you are going to have to do test stitching to know for sure if you like it. 

Carol comes up with The Big Question:
"So now we've come to the crux of the issue. Bear with me, this could get long.

Yes, I dislike test stitching, because I've always been the type to figure something out in my head. Once I make a decision about it, I'm likely not going to change my mind.

Why? Hang on here...

One of the things I've noticed about your blog is that you do a ton of test stitching. You stitch, deliberate, tear out, try something new, all with the goal of figuring out what "works" and what "doesn't work."

I don't know what that means.

When something "works," is it purely an aesthetic thing--simply what looks good to my eye? Or is there some sort of mathematical formula that is followed to figure this out? Is there a secret society of fabulous needlepointers that you ask (clearly I haven't been invited to join that group yet)? Or is it a gut instinct--when it happens, the stars align and you just know?

I think I've defaulted to working things out in my head because I can do that while I'm stitching on other things--I don't feel like I'm wasting stitching time doing something that I clearly don't understand.

And that is why I have so many unstitched canvasses in my stash--I'm still working them out in my head as I stitch other things. Every so often I get a flash of insight into something and will jot it down for when I finally do get around to stitching that canvas. Part of the problem is that I also like to have everything figured out before I start. Sometimes that can take years.

Anyway, so that's why I don't like test stitching.

Maybe at some point in the future, you could talk about the issue of "working" and "not working" on your blog--what it means to you (I know it will be different for everybody), how you arrive at that decision mentally, etc. Or if you have already done this, point it out to me so I can go read it. I would love to have your insight. I read a ton of needlework blogs, well over 100, and you are one of the few that talks about this topic. Even though I'm technically a good stitcher, I'm only a good stitcher at what others tell me to do. YOU are the kind of stitcher I want to become. "

Jane responds, sort of:
Thanks for the very nice compliment, Carol. We are clearly different when it comes to figuring out problems on canvas. I do test stitching and don’t mind stitching on the fly without knowing exactly what the next step will be. You are not like that--you like to have things planned out before doing any stitching. Nothing wrong with that! It is just different than how I work. Before I start talking about how I know what stitch to use on a canvas, I think we should break. This message is getting too long. How about everyone who hasn’t read what Gay Ann Rogers says on this very topic go read her essay, and then we’ll reconvene tomorrow for me to try and articulate what I am talking about?

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at

Cindy Wins at Woodlawn

Cindy just got back from a visit to Woodlawn Plantation's exhibit (sadly the last day was March 31st) and writes about her visit here.  She won two ribbons!  Congratulations to her and to everyone who exhibited at the needlework show.  You have the gratitude of all the stitchers who visited both in person and virtually.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at